Clean Slate, Dr Emdad Khan
Year 2016 is ending, we all make New Year resolutions. We all like, when a new child is born as he/she brings hope and joy to the family and friends. Also as human being, we made mistakes in the past and also in the past others did something undesirable to us, we felt hurt and have grievances. When we were kids, we used to enjoy in writing in a clean black slate, when the slate used to get dirty, we wiped it to be clean again.
We like to propose few steps, if we follow them as our new year resolution, we may become innocent like new born and our status will be like a clean slate, wipe out all the unwanted and undesired things in our heart and internal feelings of anxiety and sadness will disappear.
So let us seek forgiveness from the Almighty who is ever forgiving and merciful. Also on occasions, we made mistakes in our relations with our family and friends. In turn others also hurt our feelings. So let us seek forgiveness and also forgive others and start our New Year life like as a clean slate.
Let us learn some lessons and get inspiration from the life of few messengers of the Almighty Creator. We all know, first man, Adam (AHS) and our mother Hawa (Eve) (AHS) both made one mistake when in paradise, by eating the fruit of the forbidden tree as provoked by the devil. Interesting to observe that Adam did not blame his wife Hawa (Eve) or Hawa (Eve) did not blame her husband Adam, nor did they blame the devil for the mistake. They (both) said: “Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers.” (7.23, al-Quran)
So we all need to take the ownership of any mistakes we do, it will make us powerful and respectful. The actual event as it happens is only 10%, how we handle it is 90%.
Let us look at another example of another messenger of the Creator, who was sent to city of 100,000 persons in present day Iraq. He invited the community to follow righteous path and shun the evil path. They did not listen to him, rather mocked him. Eventually he warned about the calamity to befall upon them from God. He (the prophet) left the community by boat for another destination without waiting for the explicit command of God. The community, when saw the calamity was about to befall upon them as described by the prophet, they all gathered and seek forgiveness of God. God forgave them but God wanted to put the prophet into a test. And (remember) Dhunnun (the man of the fish, namely Yunus (AHS), when he walked away in anger and thought that We would never put him to trouble. Then, he called (Us) in depths of darkness saying, “There is no god but You. Glorified are You. Indeed I was among the wrongdoers”. (21.87, Al-Quran)
Here, we find as the community realized their mistakes and evil deeds, even in the absence of the prophet, when repented and tuned to God, He forgave them. God, put a higher standard for the prophet, put him to a difficult test, with three types of darkness, the darkness inside the tummy of the fish, the darkness to be inside the water and the darkness of the night. Eventually God let the fish to put the prophet at the shore and forgave him and united him with his community.
Last example, we like to describe, the guarantee given by the Almighty to His best creation human beings. He loves them, always ready to forgive and accept them, when they return to Him with sincere repentance. Say (on My behalf), “O servants of Mine who have acted recklessly against their own selves, do not despair of God’s mercy. Surely, God will forgive all sins. Surely, He is the One who is the Most-Forgiving, the Very-Merciful. (39.53, Al-Quran)
To clean our own slate, to forget past grievances and move forward, we need today to forgive the past mistakes and short comings or perceived or real harm done to us by four types of human beings
First, our parents (father, mother, father in law & mother in law)
We must forgive them for every mistake they made in up bringing us. We should be grateful to them for giving us life (self and spouse). If we are happy to be alive, we can forgive them. This simple but courageous act will dramatically improve on our relationship with parents and in laws and from today onward, we will be good obedient adult children for the rest of our lives. We will no longer feel victims and our past anger will disappear. We will feel light and relieved of a heavy burden.
Second, mend our relations with Close relatives by Blood and Marriage.
God commands us to have good relations with our relatives. “Those who join that which God has commanded to be joined (i.e. they are good to their relatives and do not cut the bond of kinship) 13.21, Al-Quran.” In certain situations, these relationships can be poisonous, seriously hurtful to our day to day feeling and self-esteem. We may be angry and unforgiving toward those people for years. We may be in a condition as if drinking poison daily and carry bitter anger in our life every day. Let us think, if they were responsible for 90%, we might have been responsible for 10%. Think of by not forgiving, we ruin our present life. If we forgive each and every one of our relatives by stating his/her name and say loudly to ourselves, “We forgive him/her for every harm real/perceived done to us and we wish him/her a better life.” Each time we say this to ourselves, the negative feeling will gradually diminish and God willing, soon will disappear forever, we will feel free of anger and sadness. Our moral will be uplifted and our daily life will be joyful.
Third, Let us forgive everyone under the sky, anyone who has one way or another hurt us any way.
These may be neighbours, class friends in high school or university, coworkers, and community members. Clearly state, “We forgive him/her for every evil act and we wish him/her success in life.” The toxic feeling will slowly reduce and finally will go forever. We will feel happy and peaceful.
Fourth, Be a Clean Slate and fully free by forgiving ourselves
Let us remember one by one, all the evil acts we did with ugly intention, unknowly or cruel things to ourselves or to others. If we did hurt someone, we should go to that person, or write to, send text or a letter and apologize. Clearly say, we are genuinely sorry for what we did or said to you and please forgive us.
Let us be courageous to seek unconditional forgiveness. We say to our ego, let us be free by supressing this ego, we will be stronger and powerful. Think of the devil, he did not obey God to prostate to Adam saying, I was made from fire and Adam was made from earth. Let us compare us to Adam, if Adam could seek forgiveness, who are we? We also must seek forgiveness from God and other persons whom we harmed.
Let us say to ourselves “we forgive ourselves for every mistake we made and we will move forward as a free person to have an enjoyable and peaceful future life.” Let us focus on the future as we cannot undo past. So let us no more, look back to the past.
If we have forgiven the above four categories of persons, we will become innocent like new born baby and we will have a clean slate. From now we will become happier and wiser, if we make a new mistake and harm someone, we will take ownership to admit the mistake and will seek forgiveness. Also, if someone hurts us, just forgive, we will become peaceful, anxiety free and powerful.
Almighty God burdens not a person beyond his scope. As a human being, He gets reward for that (good) which he has earned, and he is accountable for that (evil) which he has earned. “Our Lord! Account us not if we forget or fall into error, our Lord! Lay not on us a burden like that which You did lay on those before us; our Lord! Put not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Pardon us and grant us forgiveness. Have mercy on us. …” (2.286 AlQuran)